EKG/ECGs, formally known as electrocardiographs, record the electrical activity of the heart over time. Our hearts produce electric waves that cause it to pump. These waves pass through the body and are sensed and measured by electrodes that we attach to your skin prior to conducting the EKG. Electrodes on different sides of the heart measure the various activity of the heart muscle. An ECG displays the voltage between pairs of these electrodes and the muscle activity that they measure from different directions. We read the results in the form of an electrocardiogram, which is the graphic produced by an electrocardiograph. This display indicates the overall rhythm of the heart, and weaknesses in different parts of the heart muscle
An EKG is the best way to measure and diagnose abnormal rhythms of the heart. Other things EKGs/ECGs are used for:
- Diagnosing a heart attack
- Discovering other heart conditions
- Discovering conditions unrelated to the heart
- Detecting the cause of an imbalance in electrolytes
- Diagnosing the cause of: chest discomfort, shortness of breath, anxiety, weakness, issues with fainting
- Pre-administration of general anesthetics
- Those who are elderly, diabetic, have heart disease, or have had a heart-related procedure
- In myocardial infarction (MI), the ECG can identify damaged heart muscle.
During an EKG, you can expect to have small, sticky electrode pads attached to your chest, arms, and legs. These pads are attached by wire to our EKG machine. The test is painless and generally very quick (about five minutes).
If additional techniques are needed to evaluate the heart, our office also has an ultrasound machine. The ECG cannot reliably measure the pumping ability of the heart, in which an ultrasound is conducted.